How to Fix Upper Back Pain (NO MORE KNOTS!)

Have you ever wondered how to fix upper back pain? You know, that spot on your back where it feels like you have knots for days. In this video, I am going to breakdown why you are experiencing upper back pain and 5 moves you can do to fix it for good. There is no need to live in chronic pain when there’s a solution that will have your back feeling better right away.

More often than not, when it comes to pain in the upper back, it doesn’t have to do with the muscles in the area (the rhomboids). Instead it has more to do with the joints in the area and that is namely the thoracic spine. When there is a dysfunction in the thoracic spine, you will often feel it in the surrounding muscles, but because they are not the root cause, we aren’t going to be targeting them directly. Instead, the brunt of our focus for this video will be on mobilizing the thoracic spine.

The first move that you can do to deal with your upper back pain is called the rhomboid pushup. While not actually targeting the muscles in terms of strengthening them, they are active throughout the mobilization of the thoracic spine. By allowing your chest to drop down towards the ground, you are contracting the muscles through their range of motion and as you protract to reach the top end of the pushup, you are placing them on stretch. Taking these muscles along for the ride as you move the thoracic spine will be the first step in eliminating that pain in the upper back.

Next, you are going to need to stand close to a wall and perform the wall splat. The key takeaways for this move are to keep your arms spread wider in order to alleviate any potential shoulder discomfort, driving your knee towards to the wall, and sinking your hips into the movement as you try to bring yourself closer to the wall. Doing the last two will help you to feel to move your thoracic spine deeper through the range of motion as you come closer to the wall. You will feel this almost instantly and will be good feedback on what your upper back should feel like when it has full range of motion.

The third move that you should perform in order to get rid of upper back pain is a mobilization drill that I like to call “can openers”. Simply get down on your knees and elbows, place one arm behind your head and rotate your upper back so that that arm is now pointing towards the ceiling. Hold at the top for a few seconds before returning to rest and then repeating the move again. Something to note in this move is the actively retract the shoulder blade of the arm that is bent behind the head. Repeat on the other side to make sure you avoid any imbalances.

This stretch, the 11:15 stretch (as I like to call it,) not only works great, but feels great too. One of the biggest points to make note of on this move is to not only make sure that your arms are in the right position, but to retract the shoulder blade of the arm that is in the 15 position. Just like with the can openers, while you want to reach out as far as you can in this position, you also want to actively retract that scapula. This willl help to reinforce the mobilization of the thoracic spine which is key in order to fix that upper back pain you’ve been going through.

The last move that you can perform here in this sequence is one that I’ve suggest that you should do every day in order to feel amazing. This is called the bridge and reach over. Not only does this movement help to mobilize the thoracic spine with the reach over, but it also allows for the entire kinetic chain to get involved so that you are moving multiple parts of your body in concert. From your feet all the way up to your head, you are working everything in tandem and making sure that everything mobilized. I think this is one of the best things you can do for any back pain, especially in the upper back.

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